systems autonomous user cars control interactivity technology
How new technologies have changed the automotive industryThroughout history, the car industry has always been of the most receptiveindustries to emerging technologies. Since Henry Ford open the doors of Fordat the beginning of the 20th century, technology has redefined the way carsare manufactured, operated and maintained. Technology has already redefinedthe way cars use fuel, with electric, hybrid and solar energy systemsbeginning to displace the internal combustion engine and gas-fed engines asthe driving force of the future.Technology has already redefined the way cars use fuel, with electric, hybridand solar energy systems in cars beginning to displace the internal combustionengine and fuel-fed engines as the driving force of the future.However, the growth of autonomous technologies and ongoing computers havesimultaneously begun to increase user interactivity whilst decreasing the needto take direct control of ‘driving.’The development of autonomous technologies will redefine the drivingexperience, as the user begins to handover control to an onboard navigationsystem. One thing is sure: the cars of the future will be autonomous andinteractive, and both tendencies are closely entwined with each other.## The Growth of Autonomous TechnologyThe biggest change that has already occurred in the automotive industry as aresult of technology is that of autonomy. Manufacturers are in the process ofdeveloping self-driving cars on a larger scale.Most modern cars feature autonomous systems like Autonomous Emergency Braking(AEB). AEB systems use radar, cameras and lidar technology to assess the roadahead and work out potential collisions. These systems generally inform thedriver that action is needed to avoid a future collision, and then if noaction is taken, AEB will brake on behalf of the driver.Another autonomous system that recently featured in the Google Car, is road-user interpretive software that has been programmed to interpret the commonroad behaviour of other drivers. Shape and motion descriptors allow the carscentral processing unit to make intelligent decisions in response to themovements of other road users.The system is sophisticated enough to be able to ascertain whether surroundingroad users are cars, bicycles or motorbikes based on their speed and theirmovement patterns. Laser sensors have enabled autonomous technology to developan understanding on the movement of vehicles around them.## Self-driving systems are on the radarAudi’s adaptive cruise control is an example of a system with a built in stopand go function. It takes the collaboration of 30 control units to analyze thesurrounding environment of the vehicle. The Audi’s cruise control regulatesthe speed according to the distance between the driver’s car and the vehicleahead all the way from 0 to 155 mph.Two radar sensors at the front of the vehicle enable the system to judge thedistance and users can customize the rate at which the system accelerates. Thesystem is quite limited with regards to deceleration. Such cruise controlsystems are capable of proactive supporting drivers but they aren’t completelyautonomous.On the current market, the BMW 7 Series has the capability to park itselfwithout the owner’s intervention. Likewise, in 2015 Google started testingself-drive cars with remote sensing technology, where a laser was mounted onthe roof to generate a 3D map of the surrounding area to navigateautomatically.The growing prominence of cruise control systems and self-parking systems inthe BMW 7 Series indicate that fully autonomous systems are going to be thenatural next phase in the auto-tech revolution.## Greater user interactivityAs computers have become more central to the mass production of automobiles,the capacity for user interactivity has increased enormously. Today, every carproduced has some kind of onboard computer that controls a wide range offunctions.Many onboard computers enable the user to control GPS, cruise control, andvehicle temperature and even exhaust emissions. These onboard systems haveincreased the level of user interactivity available to drivers around theworld.Today, drivers can input a destination into their onboard GPS and run on-boarddiagnostics to identify any problems with the vehicle subsystems. Userinteractivity as characterised the way that our vehicles are designed andused.Following the smartphone revolution, the automobile industry introduced smartdashboards, with cars making use of onboard tablets that enable users to readtheir phone messages and play music through the stereo with one interface.## Smart car technologiesTechnologies like Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto enable users to enjoythe functionality of a phone without having to pick one up. In practice, thismeans that people will spend much less time looking at their phones as they’llbe able to interact with a larger user interface instead.Despite this, interacting with an onboard computer remains a distraction fromthe road ahead. Or does it? As part of the emphasis on user interactivity, weare seeing manufacturers implementing features like Gesture control, atechnology that enables users to take control of their radios through the useof hand gestures.In the BMW 7 Series, a small sensor in the control panel of the roof monitorsthe area in front of the screen to read your gestures. With the 7 SeriesGesture control, you can change the volume with a circular motion and answeror dismiss phone calls by swiping to the left or right. Users also have theopportunity to create their own custom configurations if needed.## Autonomy and interactivity define the futureIf the increase in user interactivity and autonomous features has revealedanything, it’s that the automobile industry remains committed to the vision ofthe self-driving car. As autonomous systems take over, consumers will expectmore user interactivity as they travel.It stands to reason that the less time drivers spend ‘driving,’ the more timeusers will want to interact with onboard technology. That’s why developing andimproving autonomous technologies in cars is the future. Whether it’s rosy ornot, it’s a different story.